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WATCH: MHSAA director responds to new testing requirements for athletes

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Posted at 11:06 AM, Mar 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-19 13:34:08-04

LANSING, Mich.  — The director of the Michigan High School Athletic Association held a news conference Friday afternoon responding to the state's new testing requirements for youth athletes.

Under updated public health guidelines, youth athletes will need to be tested for COVID-19 before all practices and competitions.

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It's in response to outbreaks of the virus that state officials say are tied to athletics in school settings.

Watch the news conference:

Because the new requirements take effect April 2, winter sports athletes who still have games at that point will need to begin getting rapid antigen tests before practices and competitions.

Spring sport athletes will also be subject to the testing requirements.

It's unclear if the requirements will only be for contact sports or for all youth athletes, or if vaccination status will be a factor.

The biggest clarification MHSAA wants is on the frequency of testing required: whether it'll only be needed before practices and competitions, weekly or any other frequency.

Officials hope to have those answers by next week.

"We're going to do whatever it takes for our kids to be able to play and play safe," MHSAA Director Mark Uyl said.

Uyl says it's been a challenge throughout the pandemic to get data of where cases and outbreaks are coming from.

But, he said, neighboring states that have also had high school sports over the same period of time aren't seeing the same rise in COVID-19 cases that Michigan is.

High school sports also aren't the only things that have reopened in recent months.

MHSAA has not received any indication as of yet from the state that another shutdown is imminent.

And the quarantines and shutdowns have been "awful" for student-athletes.

"The reason we've been advocating to save participation going back to August is that fact that we think that kids deserve seasons, deserve closure of those seasons," Uyl said.